Wikipedia was founded for OR

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Wikipedia was founded for OR

Gwern Branwen
http://business.in.com/column/zen-garden/daddy-has-kira-to-thank/812/0
'Daddy has Kira to Thank: The world's most democratic storehouse of knowledge really began in a one-room school in Alabama; it took shape in a little girl's hospital bed'

"I decide to ask him that one question:
Tell us about something deeply personal that helped you shape your world view, that has made Wikipedia what it is.

A few seconds of silence follow.

Then, slowly, he recollects how as a child in Huntsville, Alabama, he was home-schooled until his eighth grade. His mother and grandmother ran a one-room school at home where there were four other children. They ran classes for children of different grades all in the same room. So a child could opt to learn whatever — it was not driven by a system, but by a child’s quest to know. And of course, the place was full of encyclopedias of all kinds. So, as a child, Wales built affection for the idea of encyclopedias. That was the root! A few more seconds of silence follow.

Then Wales clears his throat and says, “I have never told this before, but there is something else deeply personal that impacted me. My daughter Kira, suffered from a rare condition from birth that would have eventually killed her. She was a newborn baby with very rare lung incapacity with no known cure. A certain doctor in San Diego had found an untested cure that seemed to work on at least some children. But its outcome was not conclusively proven. So, parents who took their children had to make a call. The procedure required the child to be paralysed for a few moments and it was repeated a number of times before the child’s lungs began to function normally again.

Left with no other options, we agreed to give it a try. We watched as four times she was turned upside down, her entire system stopped and the lungs cleaned. At the end of it, she breathed and, thank God, has become perfectly normal.”

...

He wipes it off and begins haltingly.
“At the end of the procedure, I realized how precious the doctor’s knowledge was. It occurred to me that no one other than this doctor would ever know about this whole thing. There had to be a way”. And that is how Wikipedia came about. First as Nupedia, that went nowhere. For three years, it struggled with the concept of a free, Internet-based encyclopedia with expert review of content, before Wales turned the idea on its head, leaving the choice of editing content to anyone who was willing to. As one looks back, it isn’t the story of a young dot-commer who raised venture capital money at eyepopping valuations to become yet another private-jet owner."

I'm a little skeptical that this is any of the real reasons, given the fallibility of human memory, and never seeing anything like this mentioned in materials from the early days - but this would be a great reason, because this doctor is not described as publishing in an RS, so his knowledge is OR! (Bwa ha ha ha. This is almost as good as those Afghan news agencies not being RSs.)

--
gwern
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Re: Wikipedia was founded for OR

Charles Matthews
[hidden email] wrote:
> I'm a little skeptical that this is any of the real reasons, given the
> fallibility of human memory, and never seeing anything like this
> mentioned in materials from the early days - but this would be a great
> reason, because this doctor is not described as publishing in an RS,
> so his knowledge is OR!
The story about Kira fills in something Jimbo mentioned before, though.
I gave up a while ago on thinking the early history of WP was something
a historian could completely elucidate. This story adds another layer to
the question of the motivations of one of the principal actors
(something the historians will eventually have to deal with).

Charles


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Re: Wikipedia was founded for OR

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Gwern Branwen
Skepticism rears it's ugly head.
Are we, as internet sleuths given enough information here to *find* the  
name of the doctor, the name of the condition?
If we are not, or if a generic-type search for rare lung condition  with
unproven treatment... or whatever fails to find anything  useful....
I'm like that,  hard-hearted, suspicious, cynical, etc.
By the way what is a "rare" lung capacity.  I think what he must mean  is a
rare condition which causes diminished lung capacity.
Turn up the name of the doctor, and I will turn up some publication  
mentioning his treatment.
 
Will Johnson
 
 
 
In a message dated 8/7/2009 4:47:27 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

I'm a  little skeptical that this is any of the real reasons, given the
fallibility  of human memory, and never seeing anything like this mentioned in
materials  from the early days - but this would be a great reason, because
this doctor is  not described as publishing in an RS, so his knowledge is OR!
(Bwa ha ha ha.  This is almost as good as those Afghan news agencies not
being  RSs.)

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Re: Board Elections

WJhonson
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2009/Candidates/en

Isn't this person Jussi-Ville Heiskanen a regular contributor to this
list ?
Jussi is the only person up for election who doesn't present a
photograph.


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Re: Board Elections

Al Tally
On Sat, Aug 8, 2009 at 3:37 AM, <[hidden email]> wrote:

> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2009/Candidates/en
>
> Isn't this person Jussi-Ville Heiskanen a regular contributor to this
> list ?
> Jussi is the only person up for election who doesn't present a
> photograph.
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>

Here's a pic:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/meta/b/b5/CAPortrait.png

--
Alex
(User:Majorly)
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Re: Board Elections

Casey Brown-5
In reply to this post by WJhonson
On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:37 PM, <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Isn't this person Jussi-Ville Heiskanen a regular contributor to this
> list ?

I believe he is, yes, foundation-l too.

> Jussi is the only person up for election who doesn't present a
> photograph.
>

Keep in mind that that's not a requirement, he's well within his own
rights to not post a picture.

--
Casey Brown
Cbrown1023

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Re: Board Elections

Gwern Branwen
On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:51 PM, Casey Brown<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Keep in mind that that's not a requirement, he's well within his own
> rights to not post a picture.
>

And given majorly's link, I'd say that's a canny move on his part!

--
gwern
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Re: Board Elections

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
Gwern Branwen wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:51 PM, Casey Brown<[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Keep in mind that that's not a requirement, he's well within his own
>> rights to not post a picture.
>>
>
> And given majorly's link, I'd say that's a canny move on his part!

I'll take that as a compliment on my campaigning acumen, I think!


Yours,

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen


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Re: Wikipedia was founded for OR

Steve Bennett-8
In reply to this post by WJhonson
On Sat, Aug 8, 2009 at 3:51 AM, <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Skepticism rears it's ugly head.

I just don't think that motivations are ever that straight forward.
Everyone loves to tell a simple tale like "The idea came to me one day
when X, so that night I decided to Y". Usually, though, we all have
lots of different ideas and motivations, and when the right
opportunity comes along, we pursue it.

Steve

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Re: Wikipedia was founded for OR

Joseph Reagle
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Friday 07 August 2009, Charles Matthews wrote:
> The story about Kira fills in something Jimbo mentioned before, though.
> I gave up a while ago on thinking the early history of WP was something
> a historian could completely elucidate. This story adds another layer to
> the question of the motivations of one of the principal actors
> (something the historians will eventually have to deal with).


This question of when the first significant history of Wikipedia can be written very much intrigues me. I am not intending to slight Lih's book, nor my work of course, but when you look at award-winning historical biographies, the scholars typically had access to friends and family of the subjects, their personal papers and records, etc. There is this ironic tension that one typically never gets access to personal archives until after their death. And, I don't think we have yet seen a work on a subject in which the predominant media of discourse is digital. I know in my own work I would have loved to have access to some early e-mails that apparently do not exist anymore.

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